Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 January 2015
The expansion of extractive corporations’ overseas business operations has led to serious concerns regarding human rights–related impacts. As these apprehensions grow, we see a countervailing rise in calls for government intervention and in levels of socially conscious shareholder advocacy. I focus on the latter as manifested in recent use of the shareholder proposal mechanism found in corporate law. Shareholder proposals, while under-theorized, provide a valuable lens through which to consider the argument that economic behaviour is embedded within social relations. In doing so, I situate my analysis within Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) scholarship. Elsewhere, I have supported the use of corporate law tools in advancing the international human rights enterprise and argued that investment activism can be an essential component of this advancement. This paper represents a reflexive pause. Using the case study of a recent proposal submitted to Goldcorp Inc., I seek to problematize the shareholder proposal as a human rights advocacy tool and to examine it as a site of contestation.
Prior versions of this paper were presented at workshops and conferences held at Harvard Law School, the Harvard Kennedy School, UCLA School of Law, Emory University School of Law, the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, University of Oregon School of Law, and Jindal Global Law School. I am indebted to colleagues at each meeting for their constructive feedback. I also wish to thank Shin Imai, Obi Okafor, Larry Mitchell, James Gathii, Tony Anghie, Sara Seck, Catherine Coumans, Michael Fakhri, Vincent-Joël Proulx, Mercedes Perez, Faisal Bhabha, the three anonymous referees, and the guest editors of the special issue, as well as Peter Chapman and Jennifer Coulson for their critical engagement with aspects of this paper. Finally, I acknowledge, with appreciation, the research assistance of Jessica DiFederico and the editorial assistance of Chad Travis.
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23. Id. (prior to the 2001 amendments).
24. Id., §137(5)(b.1).
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110. Supra note 86.
112. Supra note 62.
114. Id. at 3.
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135. Id. at 18.
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